Cobra Starship: Hot Mess (Decaydance/Fueled by Ramen)

Quick rewind: Cobra Starship is responsible for the closing-credits track, "Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)," from that Samuel L. Jackson movie, as well as re-recording Katy Perry's radio megahit as "I Kissed a Boy."

Now the band has released its third effort, Hot Mess, and it's a consummate piece of throwaway pop music: vapid and empty, but fun. It reminds me of my high school crushes: sexy and stupid guys who wore and liked whatever seemed to be relevant at the moment.

Like those guys, Hot Mess is good for a brief and meaningless thrill. From "Move Like You Gonna Die" to "Nice Guys Finish Last," the songs are all catchy and anthemic and overproduced. Gabe Saporta (the wannabe-Beastie Boy lead singer) is a bit much—more a marketing ploy than an actual personality—but somehow, he's compelling.

Look at the video for the first single, "Good Girls Go Bad," which features Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester talk-singing in raccoon mascara while Saporta overdoes that overhead-arm-wave thing. He's this bizarre 21st-century articulation of macho cool; he brags about leading women astray; he brags about knowing Pete Wentz; he brags about his dance moves; he brags about enjoying a same-sex kiss (but I think that last one's just for show).

Cobra Starship will soon disappear forever, but Hot Mess is here to remind us that ephemera has its place.

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